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Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

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GERMANY.                                                539
is between seven and eight thousand feet, and they are nrach folded and faulted. In the southern portion the outcropping beds are nearly worked out, and as mines have been opened more to the north it has been necessary to sink deeper, one shaft going down 2500 feet through strata heavily charged with water. When it is considered that there is more trouble from gas in the deeper mines it will be evident that conditions do not indicate any decrease in the price of coal. The upper beds give a coal containing from 35 to 45 per cent, of volatile matter, the middle region from 15 to 35 per cent, and the lowest seams not over 15 per cent. It is from the so-called "fat" coals of the middle region that most of the coke is made, the ash running about 10 per cent. The sale of coal and coke is controlled by a syndicate which embraces 90 per cent, of the coal output,, and the price of fat coal has risen during the last few years from $2 in 1895 to $2.44 in 1900, these figures being at the mine. Kirchhoif quotes the annual reports of many collieries, and the larger collieries, producing one:third of all the coal and coke, show a cost ranging from $1.31 to $1.69 per ton of coal, with an average of $1.55, the smaller collieries running up to $3 and even to $2.50.
The wages of miners have advanced in recent years. In 1878 day laborers received 56 cents and the miners 67 cents, but in 1891 the wages were 71 cents for common labor. A reaction followed and then another rise, and in 1898 common labor commanded 76 cents per day and the miners $1.14. The mining situation in Westphalia is much as it is in the United States, for the development of industry has gone ahead of the increase in native population and one-third of the working force comes from Poland, eastern Prussia and Italy. These alien communities are less common in Europe than in our own land. The selling price at the oven of blastfurnace coke in the Euhr basin varied from $1.96 per ton in 1887 to $4.95 in 1890. It dropped to $2.75 in 1893, 1894 and 1895 and rose to $3.50 in 1900 and $4.25 in 1901. A great part of this coke is made in by-product ovens, and it is well known that coke-oven builders will operate ovens free of cost for a term of years, taking their pay in by-products. This being so, the price of coke in Westphalia includes a good profit, and the figure given is no measure of the cost to steel works that own mines and ovens, among which are the following: